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HOA Homefront: Why aren’t CC&Rs online and where are monthly financials?

Q: In our recent HOA meeting, one question raised was, “Why aren’t our CC&Rs on the HOA’s website?” The answer from our manager was, “Someone could hack into our website and see our CC&Rs.” I find this difficult to believe since the CC&R’s must be recorded with the county recorder’s office and as such, are a public record. It seems to me that putting the CC&Rs on the website shouldn’t be that difficult and would work much better than the current requirement to call the association and have them e-mail a copy. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. — S.H., San Clemente

A: CC&Rs are by definition covenants recorded on the HOA property, which means they are a public notice. Anybody can obtain a copy by either seeking it from the local County Recorder or by contacting your favorite title insurance company’s customer service department. Governing documents normally contain no confidential information.

Posting the governing documents (condominium plan or subdivision map, CC&Rs, bylaws, and all HOA rules) online is a good idea. To the extent someone still views governing documents as confidential, they could be placed on the website’s “members-only” portion. HOAs and their managers are increasingly using websites as a communication tool and to post the various documents that members request from time to time.

If the HOA documents required by Civil Code Section 4525 (items for sellers to give to prospective purchasers) are available electronically, Civil Code Section 4530(b)(1) prohibits the HOA from charging for the electronic copy. Websites and electronic document transmittal make HOAs and managers more efficient and enhance community communication. So managers, HOAs and the members all win by embracing the technology.

Q: I am hoping you can give us some direction with these problems. Our CC&Rs call for financials every month. We have not gotten them for almost two years. We get a yearly budget and reserve accounts but that is it. Also, we are trying to get people together for a meeting but she will not allow us to use the clubhouses. — E.A., San Jacinto

A: Your board is required by Civil Code Section 5500 to review several important financial items on a monthly basis, including a current reconciliation of the operating accounts and reserve accounts, the current year’s actual operating revenues and expenses compared with the current budget, the latest account statements from banks holding HOA funds, an income and expense statement for the association’s accounts, the check register, monthly general ledger and delinquent assessment receivable reports.

However, these are not necessarily all documents that a homeowner is entitled to request from the association. There is some small overlap between this list of financial records and the financial records a member may request to review under Civil Code Section 5200. The board should insist the manager provide the reports necessary so it can meet the financial review requirements imposed by law.

As to the meeting room request, Civil Code Section 4515(b)(3) allows members to reserve the clubhouse on an available date for members to meet and discuss concerns regarding HOA issues. Although the HOA may not require a deposit, it can hold the host member responsible for violation of the facility rules or for any damage arising out of the event.

Kelly G. Richardson CCAL is Partner of Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Send questions for consideration to Kelly@rodllp.com


Source: Orange County Register

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